December 2013
Women’s Mental Health

Recent activities of the Section

Marta B. Rondon, President of the International Association for Women’s Mental Health (IAWMH), sent a detailed report of the 5th IAWMH World Congress in Lima, Peru, March 2013. Several of the IAWMH members are also members of the WPA Section on Women’s Mental Health; 458 delegates from 57 countries participated in the Congress.

The salient features of this Congress were:
a. The IAWMH was able to strengthen relations with the World Health Organization/ Pan American Health Organization which participated in the Opening Ceremony as well as in several scientific sessions, such as the keynote delivered by senior adviser, Maristela Monteiro.

b. Active participation from the Peruvian state (representative of the Minister of Health, Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations, Mr Miguel Ramos, Director of Gender Based Violence). The local government, represented by the Mayor of Lima, Susana Villaran, recognized the lifetime achievements of two members of the IAWMH who have significantly contributed to the advancement of gender equity in health services Profs. Donna Stewart (Toronto), and Mariella Guerra (Lima).

c. Support and participation of the local academic sectors: Universities of San Marcos, Catholic, Sagrado Corazon, Alas Peruanas, Norbert Wiener, and Cayetano Heredia.

d. Most important, significant advances in psychopharmacology, specially, but not limited to, that of pregnancy and puerperium, the epidemiology of and interventions in gender-based violence, the management of alcohol and drug-related disorders, the effects of stress on women and the impact of recent social changes on the well-being of women, were presented.

e. The IAWMH has been able to organize a meeting of this scope without any support from pharma industry. The meeting had 17 invited keynote speakers. Attendants have been remarkably generous in their willingness to cover their own expenses and contribute with their registration fees to the success of the scientific and social programs.

f. The members of the IAWMH have been remarkable in their ability to foster networking and establishment of collaboration with several other professional organizations, academia, international and state agencies. This strengthens the movement to make mental health available to all, and in this case, to foster quality care for women.

Negative outcomes of the Scientific Meeting: The IAWMH regrets that they were not able to provide scholarships for deserving residents and students and also that there was very scant participation from users and caregivers.

A new publication “Violence Against Women and Mental Health” (www.karger.com/ kismh). Most of the Chapters in this book are contributed by the members of the WPA Section on Women’s Mental Health and the IAWMH.

Unaiza Niaz

Chair, WPA Section on

Women’s Mental Health


Organized by Internews Islamabad February 16-20, 2013

The significance of communication and the tremendous impact of the media on the mindset of the general public are well established facts today. There is a dire need for inclusion of psychological trauma in the professional media training curriculum. Despite the establishment of a solid base of scientific literature on trauma and the growing attunement of society and the media to the adverse psychological impact of traumatic events, this area has yet to be decisively incorporated into the core curriculum of graduate training in professions dealing with the community directly, like social services and media, particularly in the developing countries where there are war-like situations, war zones, and rampant violence due to ethnic, sectarian or political unrest.

Journalists have an amazing incredible ability to inform, educate, motivate and change people. Media equals influence. That is the challenge psychiatrists face because too often we miss opportunities, the right people are not involved in the process, and sometimes that results in the wrong messages being shared with the public. If the clinician is sensitive to the reporter’s needs and the reporter wants to do it right, a powerful piece can be written or aired that can save a life. Involvement of mental health professionals with the media is fairly recent.

Cait McMahon, a trauma psychologist of Dart Center for Journalism was invited by Internews to conduct an intensive training for journalists and other media personnel in Islamabad, along with the local psychiatrist Prof. Unaiza Niaz, an academic and research psychiatrist of international repute, as the cotrainer. This is the second such Training of Trainers in journalism.

Unaiza Niaz

Chair, WPA Section on

Women’s Mental Health

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